With just six days to go before CIM, it's time to start thinking about carbs. In fact, some people are already thinking and doing something about it, if they subscribe to the deplete-and-load method. That would have them starving themselves of carbs and loading up on protein instead right about now, then loading the carbs in the final three days of this week.
Not me. This year I will be trying a method endorsed by Chris Carmichael, Lance Armstrong's coach and author of "Eat Right to Train Right," a book I have enjoyed, not least because of the nice section of athlete-friendly recipes in the back. I hadn't focused on Carmichael's carbo loading advice until a friend who has used the method recommended it to me.
The best thing about the method is that it involves only one day, the day before the race.
First thing in the morning you go out and do a short run, with about 2 to 3 minutes "ultra-hard," which my friend says is basically as fast as you can run, or say 1-mile or 5K pace.
Then you load. Carmichael recommends 5 grams of carbohydrates per pound of body weight, or 850 grams for a 170-pound person. For me, that comes out to about 700 grams.
He also suggests that you take in these carbs as 90 percent of your caloric intake that day, which could be kind of tough. He and my friend recommend meal replacement shakes, but the ones I normally use as recovery drinks are a lot less than 90 percent carbs. Yet you have to do something along those lines because, Carmichael notes, you would have to eat 50 slices of bread to make it to 850 grams.
I will probably go with some oatmeal and toast first thing, a banana or two, a few Ensure vanilla shakes, a couple of yams, and pasta for lunch and dinner, then oatmeal again in the morning before the race. I might fall a few carbs short of 700 grams, but I don't want to gorge myself. On the other hand, I don't want a repeat of two years ago, when I decided to eat my "dinner" in mid-afternoon in hopes of moving up my digestive calendar the next morning. Big mistake. I woke up in the middle of the night with hunger pangs. Not the feeling you want a few hours before you start a marathon.
What will you be doing?
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